Pursuing Social Justice
2021 Racial Justice Campaign
As a continuation of our 2020 Civic Engagement Campaign, we launched the Reform Movement’s 2021 Racial Justice Campaign, addressing systemic racism by demanding federal policy change to ensure the freedom to vote and advocating for racially just policies on a state level. In 2021, we mobilized support for voting rights through advocacy opportunities, marches, rallies, national partnerships including the Poor People’s Campaign, state projects, and reparations discussions.
The URJ offered Jews of Color affinity spaces. An important component of the URJ’s REDI work, affinity spaces offered a space for both healing and positive connection with Jews of Color.
Rabbi Jonah Pesner speaks at a rally.
2021 RJCC Reparations Campaign
The Reform Jewish Community of Canada (RJCC) has also been working to bear witness to the truth since unmarked graves at the sites of former indigenous residential schools came to light in 2021. Aside from issuing a statement of solidarity, the RJCC has been encouraging its members to be better allies, commit to learning about the atrocities indigenous people face, create reconciliation teams/committees, support residential school survivors, hold the government accountable for implementing the calls to action set forth by Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and more as we work to build a better future for all.
A Focus on REDI Work
Deep-rooted transformation cannot be achieved without also committing to internal antiracist work on both community and individual levels. To better affect real and impactful change, the Reform Movement turned its gaze inward to identify and address internal systemic racism, make room for and elevate the voices of Jews of Color, and train Reform leaders in our congregations and camps in REDI principles and practices.
REDI Trainings for Camp Staff
In order to create communities of belonging for people of all backgrounds and identities, camp staff participated in trainings on REDI. The URJ REDI/Audacious Hospitality team, along with camp leaders and consultants, created a two-part training that addressed core concepts of REDI work, varying forms of oppression (including racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia and antisemitism), and how to prevent, identify, and address microaggressions.
Presenters in the REDI Trainings
for Camp Staff
The RAC on Soul of a Nation
Systemic racism has a deep impact on People of Color across the U.S., including Jews of Color. In the spring of 2021, following TV host and podcaster Nick Cannon’s 2020 visit to the Religious Action Center a year prior, ABC’s Soul of a Nation featured a short but powerful segment of the celebrity in conversation with Reform Jewish leaders on topics of racism, antiracist work, Jewish social justice, and more.
Nick Cannon at the RAC
During Pride Month, the RAC partnered with Women of Reform Judaism and Keshet to offer online gatherings on “Transgender Inclusion: How Jews Can Show Up for Those Across the Gender Spectrum,” which taught attendees about recent attacks on transgender communities and provided opportunities to take action. This training included personal stories, legislative updates, and a Jewish lens on transgender inclusion, all part of our critical mission to create a community of belonging.
2021 RAC State Projects
In 2021, our RAC state initiatives in California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas took an active role in making laws more equitable and just. They partnered with other organizations, lobbied state legislators, trained new leaders, and participated in our nationwide Racial Justice Campaign.